Britain's schools minister has announced he would be tying the knot with his male partner after a nearly 29-year secret affair. Nick Gibb said he will marry Michael Simmonds, the chief executive of the Populus polling organisation, in November, having just last week come to his family as gay.
Gibb told 'The Times' that he and Simmonds had enjoyed a "wonderful life" together but said the forthcoming wedding had necessitated the "practical" step of informing his 79-year-old mother and other relatives.
"If one of us was ill and had to go to hospital it would be awful if we couldn't be there for each other," he said. The 54-year-old told the newspaper that he and his partner had met and fell in love in a "different era" but that both had been comfortable keeping their relationship a secret.
"We realised very quickly we had an interest in common and it was pretty rapid. We fell in love very quickly," he said. "It was harder then. [Homosexuality] was only made legal in 1967. There was discrimination in industry and the professions. It was easier to have a relationship that wasn't known about. It didn't really bother us, we both had successful careers. We just got on with life."
Of his announcement, he added, "I think my mother was initially shocked — that's an age thing — but then very supportive and what she wants is for me to be happy. We are close, so to her being a loving family is more important than anything else."